When you want to build your walkway, driveway, or patio you have all kinds of building materials to choose from. Everything from conventional asphalt to paver stones. If you want to get a new driveway or patio built by professionals, you can search for “paving companies near me”. If you’ve been confused between pavers and stamped concrete here are a few factors that may make you lean towards one building material more than the other:
- What are they? – Stamped concrete is concrete that is poured over a solid surface and then textured or embossed by specialized equipment to resemble slate, stone, brick stones, or even wood. On the other hand, pavers are multi-colored pieces of concrete that interlock each other to form a very durable surface.
Pavers have been around for ages while stamped concrete is a relatively new concept. Pavers have been used for hundreds of years in European pathways, courtyards, and hardscapes and that also makes them a time-tested material that boasts durability.
- Cost – The cost of pavers tends to be higher than stamped concrete. That’s because most contractors find it easier to pour concrete on-site and stamp a pattern on them. On the other hand, pavers need to be placed by hand, and it’s an arduous job. On average, pavers can cost as high as $20 per square foot. Basic stamped concrete costs half of that, around $8 to $12.
However, if the stamped concrete project is complicated with exquisite patterns and textures the cost may reach as high as $18 per square foot. That’s why a lot of homeowners chose to bring down the cost by making certain sections out of stamped concrete while the rest is made from regular concrete.
Apart from upfront installation costs, you also need to factor in the long-term cost of ownership spent on maintenance and repair. Pavers are often less of a hassle compared to stamped concrete when you need to repair or replace them. That’s why pavers can be the cheaper option in the long term. If you have a very involved stamped concrete project where the cost is similar to pavers, pavers should be the obvious choice.
- Installation – Whether you choose pavers or stamped concrete, both need a properly graded and well compacted flat surface. That means a lot of time is spent on laying the foundation for both the materials. However, placement time is longer for pavers since it’s a labor-intensive job where pavers need to be placed by hand.
Typically, construction projects take around three days for laying a 2000 square feet driveway. Compared to pouring concrete over the foundation and embossing, a texture is simpler and requires less time.
However, unlike stamped concrete projects, a paver driveway or walkway can be instantly opened to traffic, both from vehicles and people. But stamped concrete needs to be cured for at least 24 hours. Reputed contractors recommend a higher curing period since it makes the concrete stronger. Even after the curing period, you won’t be able to walk on a stamped concrete pathway for at least one more day. If you have a stamped concrete driveway, it needs 7 days after curing before you it’s ready for vehicles.
That’s why you should consult your contractor before choosing either option. They will be able to provide you with a rough estimate of placement and curing time. If you need to use the driveway or patio as soon as possible it’s best to stick to pavers. On the other hand, if time isn’t an issue you may opt for stamped concrete.
- Decorative options – Concrete pavers provide you with plenty of decorative options. They come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and textures. They are great for recreating the look of a brick-laid path or stone path on a budget. You can even mix pavers of different colors and patterns and sizes to create a unique look with contrasting and striking borders.
Stamped concrete also allows you those options. However, it has a significant advantage over pavers since it can also recreate random wood and stone patterns. Moreover, unlike pavers, stamped concrete allows you to have a seamless and unified texture without any grout lines. This is possible due to texture skins used on stamped concrete. Stamped concrete can also be stained to perfectly resemble real stone with realistic weathered effects. If aesthetics is a big priority, you may be better off choosing stamped concrete.
- Maintenance – Whether you get your driveway or pathway made from stamped concrete or pavers you’ll need to do regular maintenance and cleaning to keep them looking great. You’ll also need to get them sealed every few years to control surface abrasion and keep the colors bright. However, you may need to do extra maintenance on concrete pavers since the joints need to be filled with sand.
If you don’t fill up the sand in between the pavers, it is susceptible to weed growth that may even damage the foundation layer. That’s why homeowners don’t mind paying a bit extra for polymer sand that is protected against erosion. Hence, maintenance is a bigger hassle when you choose pavers.
- Repair – Pavers win over stamped concrete when it comes to repairing and replacement. Any paver piece that has been cracked, damaged, or sunken can be easily reset or replaced seamlessly with minimal cost and time. Experienced homeowners can even do it themselves.
That’s not the case with stamped concrete. Just like regular poured concrete, stamped concrete may crack due to freeze and thaw cycles during the winter, shifting earth due to earthquakes and other environmental factors. Even repairing a minor crack can be very expensive and it doesn’t look the same anymore.
Now that you know about the differences between pavers and stamped concrete, you’ll be able to assess which ones are better for your hardscaping project or driveway. Either way, you’ll need the help of professionals. You can search for “paving companies near me” and hire a reputed company to build a pathway, patio, or driveway for you.